GREAT – Games Realising Effective & Affective Transformation

By using collaborative design and citizen science methods, the GREAT project investigates the actual and potential impact of games on European societies. The aim is to gain insights into the innovative use of games to promote the social commitment of citizens in EU countries.

Research and innovation will generate new knowledge of the actual and potential impact of games on European society and new understandings of the innovative uses of games to support the social engagement of citizens. Leveraging the central role of games in contemporary culture, the project combines academic studies and practical experimentation with novel applications of games. Using collaborative design and citizen science methods, it brings together researchers with expertise in the areas of games, data analytics, and policy in an integrated investigation, articulated by case studies of the use of games in facilitating dialogue between citizens and policy stakeholders in Austria, Cyprus, Germany, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and our affiliated parterns in China and South Africa.

The context for the research is the climate emergency, and each case study is a research cycle addressing a policy issue and research questions, with multiple pilots and quantitative and qualitative research activities. An important aspect of the method is to place games in an authentic context, so that players are aware that their activities have real-world implications, and to close the loop by including interactions with policy stakeholders.

Agile methods are applied to adapt games from existing platforms, for use as research tools:
(a) short games deployed at scale in hit mobile games, generating quantitative data and reaching 3 million players, and
(b) longer collaborative games based around social dilemmas with small groups, generating in-depth qualitative data.

Research outcomes include publication of research findings in journal papers, a method for using games to rapidly obtain data and insight for policy stakeholders, technical resources and guidance for adoption, and implementation of the method.

The GREAT project's research and innovations will provide new insights into the role of the games industry and non-commercial creative practices in the EU for the benefit of society. Our research will provide insights into the impact of Citizen Science Games on European society by conducting case studies that show how games affect citizen participation in European society. Evidence-based proposals and guidance will show how games can promote social cohesion through improved dialogue between citizens and political actors. They will make an important contribution to democracy education and help promote social engagement and low-threshold political participation of citizens in the EU and partner countries.


Funding: European Commission Horizon Europe

Cooperation: ZSI - Center for Social Innovation, Austria, Frederick University, CyprusUNIR - Universidad Internacional De La Rioja SA, Spain, UoB - University of Bolton, Great Britain, Serious Games Interactive APS, Denmark, Playmob Limited, Great Britain, Beijing Normal University, China, NWU – North-West University, South Africa

Duration: 02/2023 - 01/2026

State: ongoing

Project Team: Jane Yau

Contact: Jane Yau